Tuesday, November 13, 2007


Recently while doing some sermon prep I was rereading portions of Discipled Warriors by Dr. Chuck Lawless. In the chapter on fellowship, "Discipled Warriors Encouraging One Another," I discovered some helpful information on forgiveness (pg. 181). Since nearly all of us will experience hurt and disappointment at the hands of others during our lifetime, this information is worth sharing. It is really a series of self-questions that you may use to determine if you need to forgive someone who has hurt you.

1. Do I dwell on the pain? If so, focus on God's forgiveness of your sins (Luke 7:40-50).

2. Do I avoid dealing with the issues? If you do, in an appropriate setting, admit anger. Bringing it into the light weakens the Enemy's hold (John 8:32).

3. Do I want the offender to hurt before I forgive? If the answer is yes, determine to forgive, even if you do not feel like it. Ask God for the heart of Jesus (Luke 23:34) and Stephen (Acts 7:60).

4. Do I have physical 'symptoms' when I think about the pain? If so, ask God to give you His incomprehensible peace (Phil. 4:7).

Finally, and maybe the most telling for many of us:

5. Can I rejoice if God blesses the one who hurt me? If you can't, pray for the person (Mt. 5:44).

The premise of the book is that our churches have become weak in many areas and therefore vulnerable to the attacks of the Enemy. We are in a spiritual battle and must be equipped and ready for battle. In the issue of forgiveness, there are many church members who harbor grudges and ill feelings about others in the Body of Christ. There is simply no way those individuals will grow and be spiritually successful if they can not forgive. Furthermore, the church as a whole will suffer as a result of these internal battles.

One of the first verses I memorized in Sunday school as a child was Eph. 4:32 which challenges us: "Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you."

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